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Old 06-14-2023, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
10,352 posts, read 7,984,186 times
Reputation: 27758

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A tardy post, to be sure, but I just learned that Nebraska Shakespeare folded in November of 2022, marking an end to the 36 year tradition of Shakespeare on the Green in Elmwood Park. Summer 2022 was the last season. There's going to be a performance of A Midsomer Night's Dream by the Flatwater Shakespeare Company from Lincoln at the Joslyn Castle on June 30 and July 1, but that's just not going to be the same.

I loved sitting in Elmwood Park on a nice summer evening, watching the fireflies and a free play under the stars. Farewell, Shakespeare on the Green! At least one Omaha resident is really going to miss you!
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Old 06-14-2023, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Sioux Falls, SD area
4,860 posts, read 6,924,201 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aredhel View Post
A tardy post, to be sure, but I just learned that Nebraska Shakespeare folded in November of 2022, marking an end to the 36 year tradition of Shakespeare on the Green in Elmwood Park. Summer 2022 was the last season. There's going to be a performance of A Midsomer Night's Dream by the Flatwater Shakespeare Company from Lincoln at the Joslyn Castle on June 30 and July 1, but that's just not going to be the same.

I loved sitting in Elmwood Park on a nice summer evening, watching the fireflies and a free play under the stars. Farewell, Shakespeare on the Green! At least one Omaha resident is really going to miss you!
It would be interesting to know what was responsible for the demise of this presentation. So many larger cities are doing away with things like this in public parks because of safety. I don't hear of Omaha having these problems anything close to cities like Chicago or the Twin Cities, but that may be a reason. It could be as simple as funding.

I'm not familier with Shakespeare on the Green itself, but I do enjoy outdoor arts like this myself. I can understand you're feelings about this no longer being available.
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Old 06-14-2023, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
10,352 posts, read 7,984,186 times
Reputation: 27758
I'm pretty sure it was funding problems that killed it; they were in significant debt (>$100,000) at the end of the 2022 season due to increased costs secondary to COVID precautions, and I don't think they were able to get all that debt paid off. There was also an uproar that started shortly before the COVID pandemic about whether the previous board was being sufficiently inclusive enough in its hiring and casting choices; the sad thing is that that had been addressed by replacing that board with a completely new one last year, but of course we never got a chance to see them make any substantial changes before lack of money (and perhaps other things as well, behind the scenes) brought the whole non-profit crashing down.

Omaha still has large festivals in its parks (Earth Day, July 4 fireworks, Taste of Omaha, Jazz on the Green), and fortunately I don't see that changing any time soon. But none of them are a substitute for Shakespeare on the Green; they are all special in different ways. Maybe in time someone will find a way to revive live theater outdoors here in Omaha.
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Old 07-13-2023, 05:56 PM
 
Location: Tampa (by way of Omaha)
14,561 posts, read 23,062,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aredhel View Post
I'm pretty sure it was funding problems that killed it; they were in significant debt (>$100,000) at the end of the 2022 season due to increased costs secondary to COVID precautions, and I don't think they were able to get all that debt paid off. There was also an uproar that started shortly before the COVID pandemic about whether the previous board was being sufficiently inclusive enough in its hiring and casting choices; the sad thing is that that had been addressed by replacing that board with a completely new one last year, but of course we never got a chance to see them make any substantial changes before lack of money (and perhaps other things as well, behind the scenes) brought the whole non-profit crashing down.

Omaha still has large festivals in its parks (Earth Day, July 4 fireworks, Taste of Omaha, Jazz on the Green), and fortunately I don't see that changing any time soon. But none of them are a substitute for Shakespeare on the Green; they are all special in different ways. Maybe in time someone will find a way to revive live theater outdoors here in Omaha.
Between the COVID debacle and the political issues, I think it was doomed. They lost a lot of support from both sides of the political aisle over the diversity controversy and I think that was simply too much to come from.

It's a shame that this awesome event was (at least partly) a piece of collateral damage from the 2020 unrest, but I remain hopeful that we might see someone step up and revive it.
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Old 07-14-2023, 06:48 AM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
10,352 posts, read 7,984,186 times
Reputation: 27758
I hope you are right that someone eventually revives it. Joslyn Castle invited the Flatwater Shakespeare Company from Lincoln up to put on a pair of performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but it was nowhere as nice as Shakespeare on the Green was. The venue was smaller and noisier, you had to have a ticket (so you could not just spontaneously decide to attend) and the venue had capacity restrictions, and the lack of a stage and microphone setup made it harder to follow the performance. The play was also heavily edited to keep it short. I’m glad I went, but it made me miss Shakespeare on the Green even more.

I do not understand what the people fighting over the diversity issue (on both sides) were attempting to accomplish, but what they ended up giving us was the worst possible outcome. Great job, guys!
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Old 07-27-2023, 02:37 PM
 
Location: Tampa (by way of Omaha)
14,561 posts, read 23,062,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aredhel View Post
I do not understand what the people fighting over the diversity issue (on both sides) were attempting to accomplish, but what they ended up giving us was the worst possible outcome. Great job, guys!
I think they probably felt that with the political climate of the time, that they should strike while the iron was hot. I think they overplayed their hand though, because while they seemed to get some decent support in the acting community, the general public seemed turned off by the "diversity just for the sake of diversity" that sounded a lot like affirmative action, which is rather unpopular with the general public.

Granted, I don't know enough about the inner workings to know who was truly to blame (and I'm sure they both were, at least to some extent).
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Old 07-27-2023, 08:39 PM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
10,352 posts, read 7,984,186 times
Reputation: 27758
Your take mirrors my own. I am still sad that the new Executive Director and Artistic Director weren't able to salvage the event. They seem to have tried so hard! I wish I was wealthy enough to have paid off the debt they were in at the end of the season; perhaps that would have given the new board a fighting chance to save the event. The performance of The Tempest had been a bit shaky, but Othello was solid, and I think future seasons would have shown improvement.
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